I have spent nearly three years in the UAE – the melting pot of Asian cultures, especially India and Pakistan – and I can tell you this: Every day, if I had a conversation beyond five minutes with a Pakistani, the conversation has a guarantee of three topics covered.
Bollywood, Cricket and an assurance from thy neighbours that the common man is not interested at all at the war-like posturing and tense diplomatic relations. Instead they love the filmy Khans and sing Indian songs more passionately than us, they claim.
And I have an inclination to believe it is true to a major extent.
But then recent instances of the cyber shots of Pakistan hacking into Indian websites often and randomly and the latest incident of all major papers in Pakistan falling for the fake wikiLeaks cables without anybody verifying the source and authenticity puts a big question mark on the integrity of the media.
Apparently a news agency, known for its ‘bulletin’ service of the intelligence agencies, planted the story and the gullible papers picked it up and ran it without verifying.
Now, one knows that Geo TV has been a welcome exception and that has held true again, mainly because it is a private organisation that has held on against the might and power of the ISI. The how and why, one will probe into this in near future.
But the big question is: If the rest of the media is playing as a tool in the hands of the government, they are not reflecting the views of the common man, who is in love with Indian entertainment and passive on politics.
The only basic tenet of journalism is, give the readers what they want.
Actually, rubbing into the fissures of India-Pakistan relations for political gains has indeed become entertainment for the ISI honchos, one that keeps them in business.
The common man has been replaced by government agencies as the primary audience for the media, it seems. Such it goes.